We certainly shouldn't be criminalized, but I recommend trying not to be fearful either. I've been out in the Castro on most of the Halloweens over the past decade, and I have yet to even see an assault that I recall, let alone get shot or stabbed myself.
Several years ago the police did however, in the name of "safety," steal a ninja sword that I had loaned to a friend for his costume. It was unsharpened and tied so it could not be removed from its scabbard, which was secured to his back, and it took him several minutes to take it off and untie it before they confiscated it; not exactly a threat. When I eventually made it over to the North Beach police station to retrieve the item, they claimed they couldn't find it, and I never did get it back.
Becoming a random victim of a shooting or stabbing at a Halloween street party may be more likely than winning the lottery, but not that much more likely. Ironically, the authorities may be increasing the risk, not just with victim disarmament laws, but with their hostility to people having fun as well.
According to an Associated Press story, "The shootings occurred around 10:40 p.m. Tuesday, as authorities began dispersing thousands of revelers under a new curfew that was aimed at controlling the traditionally raucous event."
Coincidence? Perhaps not. It's well known that a prime time for street violence in California is around 2 a.m., when state law forces bars to close and eject their patrons out onto the street. Nightlife defenders have speculated that there would be less violence if people were allowed to stay and spend their energy partying and socializing instead of being forced to leave early, sometimes with few obvious options of what else to do besides get into trouble. I can't help but wonder whether a similar phenomenon was at work in this case.
Love & liberty,
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